10 years on, 2 MU profs suspended for sexual harassment

They had allegedly harassed a lecturer, librarian and a sweeper from the physical education department.

Two Mumbai University professors were finally suspended on Saturday, nearly 10 years after they were accused of sexually harassing a lecturer, a librarian and a sweeper, all of them women, on the Kalina Campus.

Assistant sports teacher Nilesh Lohar (43) and physical education department head Bapu Narsingh Chougule (56) were also arrested on the same charges by the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police on December 14 last year.

The duo was released on bail on December 17. Both the officers, however, joined worked on December 18 and continued to work till December 20.

As per government service rules, if an employee is arrested and jailed for more than 48 hours, he/she has to be suspended by the department till the inquiry is completed.

Pro-vice chancellor Dr Naresh Chandra said they did not receive any police report till December 18, and both Lohar and Chougule claimed that court released them on the day they were arrested so the suspension rule doesn't apply their case. "As soon as we received the police report in the evening on December 18, we had sought legal opinion. Following this necessary action was taken against the two professors on Saturday," Chandra said.

The complainants all of them from the physical education department claimed that neither the varsity officials nor the police took the matter seriously.

They approached the higher police officials and moved the sessions court. The matter was then taken up by the BKC police which registered an FIR under IPC sections 354 for assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 506 (2) for criminal intimidation and 509 for word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

Among the other complaints was that the duo touched the female staff "inappropriately" and displayed exhibitionism in front of the female staff.

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